Tsarukyan's Knockout Victory Fuels Title Shot Ambitions

Dan Hooker claims Makhachev will retire by the time he fights Tsarukyan

by Sededin Dedovic
Tsarukyan's Knockout Victory Fuels Title Shot Ambitions
© Handout / Getty Images

Charles Oliveira has been the clear favorite for the next UFC lightweight title for some time. However, a cut above his eye just ten days before his scheduled fight against Islam Makhachev in October forced him to withdraw from the fight.

Aleksandar Volkanovski came on as a substitute, but Oliveira remains the undisputed number one candidate. With official confirmation of the Makhachev-Oliveira bout still pending, new challengers have emerged, eager to throw their hats in the ring.

Justin Gaethje has been actively lobbying for the title, and now Arman Tsarukyan has joined the fray. Tsarukyan's impressive knockout of Beneil Dariush last weekend fueled his belief that he deserves a shot at the belt. The Armenian fighter also has a personal vendetta against Makhachev, seeking revenge for their 2019 UFC debut which resulted in a unanimous decision victory for the Russian.

Little chance for this match to Happen claims Hooker

Despite Tsarukyan's impressive victory and desire for revenge, Dan Hooker believes the chances of a rematch between Tsarukyan and Makhachov are slim. Hooker, his fellow lightweight, had his say on The MMA Hour, suggesting that Makhachev would rather retire than face Tsarukyan for the title.

"Islam Makhachev will not fight Arman Tsarukyan," Hooker said. "I guarantee he (Mahachev) will retire before Arman gets a shot at the title. It's too risky a match. There are a lot of easier matches on offer and no one will buy a PPV headlined by Arman Tsarukyan.

Rather watch Islam fight Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje or someone like that." Hooker's assessment implies that Aleksander Volkanovski is also an "easy opponent" for Makhačov, given their friendly relationship and occasional training sessions.

However, Makhachev's post-title reign has been far from easy, and he seems unafraid of facing formidable opponents. We remind you that Hooker lost to Makhachev in October 2021, a fight that ended in less than two and a half minutes.